Friday, December 12, 2014

A future for all of us in Marinwood-Lucas Valley

Marinwood-Lucas Valley has one of the worst walk-bike scores of any neighborhood in Marin.  We live close to nature but it is also one of it's drawbacks, too.  Every time we need to go shopping, we need to get into a car.  Although Marinwood Market has helped keep shopping local, once its rent concessions evaporate, it's future is anything but secure. It is under no obligation to stay and lose money.

The Marinwood Village project threatens the success of Marinwood Market by reducing the available parking and visibility behind a 14 foot sound wall.  The occupants of the 85 units of affordable housing that will require at least 170 of the parking spaces. Other commercial tenants will also need their share of parking.  That leaves precious few parking spaces for Marinwood Market's customers. 

No wonder why Marinwood Plaza failed to lease out.   The dated structure sits atop of a toxic waste spill at the Prosperity cleaner site.   Suburban shopping trends have change too.  When the center was built more mothers stayed at home and shopped locally.  Now with a mobile workforce, both adults working, retail shopping trends have changed.  Easy access, visibility and abundant parking are essential for today's retail success.   It is more common to see a Marinwood neighbor in the easy access of the Hamilton Safeway than at the dated Terra Linda Safeway.

The center is poorly configured for a big box grocery store.  It is ideally configured and located for a market with a regional appeal.  A gourmet vendor like Marinwood Market or another Farm to Table specialty market along the lines of ( can reap big profits from the location.  It is within minutes of all of Marin and it is the "gateway to West Marin" tourism.  Over 8 million tourists travel up the 101 freeway to wine country. 

Why not have the Marinwood Market as the fresh, local, market of  Northern California?   It could feature fresh cheeses, organic meat, eggs, dairy, wines and other specialities. 

A successful regional business at Marinwood Plaza will insure it's longevity and service to the community. 

Companion businesses could be a bicycle shop,  fitness studio, restaurants, coffeeshop and wine bar.

Weekend cyclists can use it as a rest stop and ride out to west Marin or along the bike path.

A food market close to home is important for the whole community.

Each of us will become mobility impaired someday-either through age or infirmity.  If we cannot drive, we will be forced from our home.  Not only is a walk/bike friendly shopping center more environmentally friendly and healthy,  it is also more compassionate for the mobility impaired.

The toxic waste at the Prosperity Cleaners site can be responsibly cleaned up with proper oversight and effort.  We need to address it. It is not "mitigated" yet as some have claimed.  Once this is done we can build our community anew. The tax revenue can be used to pay for the tax funding gap from non-profit affordable housing elsewhere in the community.

The future is ours.  What do you want it to be? Speak out before it is too late!

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